Following last year’s NTSB recommendation that turbine-powered helicopters carry terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS), Air Logistics has decided to upgrade its newer medium and heavy twin-engine helicopters operating in the Gulf of Mexico with Honeywell’s enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).
Terrain awareness and warning system
When the idea was initially being explored a number of years ago, FAA planners saw a use for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) only in Alaska, where the technology would allow aircraft operating beyond the reach of radar to develop their own position data using onboard GPS equipment, and then transmit that data to others in the region through either a microwave satellite uplink and downlink or ground-based VHF network.
On the morning of June 18, 1994, a Learjet 25D carrying 10 passengers and two pilots crashed less than a mile from the threshold of Runway 1R on approach to Dulles International Airport.
A jury ordered Universal Avionics to pay Honeywell $5.5 million in damages for violating a patent related to Honeywell’s original (pre-“enhanced”) GPWS. The same jury last month ruled in favor of co-defendant Sandel Avionics. All three firms build terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) and have been locked in a lawsuits over TAWS patents since 2002.
As a result of the Era Aviation Sikorsky S-76++ crash, the NTSB asked the FAA to require terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) on all U.S.-registered turbine helicopters that are certified to carry at least six passengers.
Jeppesen says it’s ready to offer avionics makers an enhanced terrain and synthetic-vision database package that it claims offers a much more accurate model of the world than has been available until now.
The statistics tell the story. Over the last four years, there have been 1,475 runway-incursion incidents at controlled airports in the U.S., an average of one a day. Data from other countries are not readily available, but experts say incursions are on the rise worldwide. While the Federal Aviation Administration has focused primarily on pilot education initiatives to warn of the dangers of incursions, avionics makers have other ideas.
Although very light jets (VLJ) will be operating at the same altitudes (including RVSM airspace) as and mingling with airliners and larger business jets, there is no requirement that the small jets be equipped with TCAS or TAWS because they do not meet the minimum seat configuration as spelled out in Parts 91 and 135.
Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS), a joint L-3 Communications and Thales company, has announced that Cessna has selected the TCAS 2000 traffic alert and collision avoidance system as standard for the Citation X, XLS and Sovereign. Launched in 1997 by Honeywell, TCAS 2000 was the industry’s first TCAS II system. In 1999 when AlliedSignal and Honeywell merged, ACSS was formed to buy the product.